14721Re: Antioch in Communion with Monophysites?!
- Aug 1, 2005--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Fr. John R. Shaw"
> Athanasios Jayne wrote:Have you studied theology?<
> > Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky's error has
> > been widely criticized, and rightly so.
> JRS: How do you know it was an "error"?
Dear Fr. John,
Yes, I frequently study theology, when I read the divine
Scriptures, and the writings of the Holy Fathers, and
I am far from alone in the conclusion that Met. Anthony
was mistaken in his teachings about our Redemption in
Christ. Fr. John--do you wish to state, here in this
forum, that Met. Anthony was *not* mistaken on this
subject? Please tell us your opinion of the teaching
of Met. Anthony concerning Redemption--in your opinion,
was he in error, or was he not?
But whether Met. Anthony was mistaken or not has little
bearing upon our discussion of anathemas, except insofar
as it by concrete example establishes the evident truth
that no Hierarch of himself is infallible--which is
something that I have always believed and always said.
Therefore, by extension, it is reasonable to assert that
St. Theophan the Recluse *may* have been mistaken when
he taught the following, which exactly agrees with my
teaching which you have called "heresy":
"...BY THE VERY FACT that you have conceived a different
view of things than that which is maintained in the
Church, YOU HAVE ALREADY SEPARATED YOURSELF FROM THE
CHURCH. It is not inscription in the baptismal records
which makes one a member of the Church, but the spirit
and content of one's opinions. Whether your teaching
and your name are pronounced as being under anathema
or not, YOU ALREADY FALL UNDER IT WHEN YOUR OPINIONS
ARE OPPOSED TO THOSE OF THE CHURCH, and when you persist
in them. Fearful is the anathema. Leave off your evil
--St. Theophan the Recluse, "What is an Anathema?"
translated from the Russian text published by
Pravoslavnaya Rus, #4, 1974, (emphasis mine--AJ).
However, neither you, nor anyone else so far, has
produced any evidence that St. Theophan was in error
when he taught this, or that any other Saint or Holy
Father ever said anything which in any way contradicts
this teaching. And so, presented with the teaching
of a glorified Hierarch of the Church--a teaching
which has never to my knowledge been disputed--as a
son of the Orthodox Church I must favor the undisputed
teaching of a glorified Hierarch over that of one
Priest--despite the fact that I have always held this
particular Priest in the highest regard for his wisdom,
knowledge, and moderation. I speak of Fr. John R. Shaw.
> I did not make any accusations against St. Theophanthe Recluse. It was you who introduced his name into the
discussion. I doubt he would have supported your writing
Yes, I introduced his name--just as you introduced the
name of Met. Athony Khrapovitsky. There is nothing
wrong, per se, with introducing names, so far as I can see.
However, as I believe I have shown, the name you introduced
has little relevance, except to remind us that Hierarchs
are not infallible (something I have not forgotten),
while the name I have introduced, by contrast, has a
direct bearing upon our discussion, in that it introduces
the witness of a glorified Hierarch which clearly confirms
what I have been saying about anathemas, and which,
with equal clarity, contradicts what you have been saying.
You say you do not make accusation against St. Theophan,
and yet you have clearly asserted that his teaching about
anathemas is "heresy." By calling my teaching which
agrees with St. Theophan "heresy," you likewise condemn
the teaching of St. Theophan--for his teaching, which
I have quoted above, and mine, are the same. If you say
that "A" is heresy, and if "A" is the same as "B," then
you must also say that "B" is heresy, or you contradict
yourself by a logical fallacy.
Now, let us again examine the case of Origen, whose name
you previously introduced.
This is the teaching of the Church concerning Origen:
"If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius,
Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, and ORIGEN,
as well as their impious writings, as also all other
heretics already condemned and anathematized by the
Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid
four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not anathematize]
all those who have held and hold or who in their
impiety persist in holding to the end the same
opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him
--The Holy Fifth Ecumenical Council, Canon XI.
So you see, Father, that not only Hierarchs can say
"so-and-so is anathema." For by this Canon ALL
are required to anathematize these heretics,
and not only these heretics, but also their writings,
and also all the heretics who were previously condemned
and anathematized by the Church. And not only that,
all are required to anathematize "all those who have
held AND HOLD [present tense] ...the same opinion as
those heretics just mentioned." Further, in the
Service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, *all* (laity
included) exclaim "Anathema!" against those who hold
Is this because the laity have the power or the
authority to *originate* anathemas? By no means!
An anathema declared by a layperson has no force
whatsoever--*unless* it it agrees with, and confirms,
the anathemas already declared by the Ecumenical
Councils and Holy Fathers, in harmony with the
mind of the Church. Thus, when I or any other
layperson says "That is anathema," or "They are
anathema," we are not originating or decreeing
a new anathema, so long as what we are saying
agrees with and confirms the already-declared
Hierarchical sentence. Further, the confirmation
of a Hierarchical anathema by the laity in any
given instance has no force ecclesiastically,
except to the extent that it is acted upon and
seconded by the Hierarchy.
Ecumenical Canon XI of the Fifth Council requires
me, and all Orthodox, to declare anathema against
whatsoever and whosoever the Church has declared
anathema. According to this Canon, anyone who
fails to do this, is anathema himself.
To hold beliefs which are anathema, has
real consequences: spiritually, individually,
and personally. It causes separation from the
Church. To me, this is self-evident, and this
is what I have been saying, and this is what
St. Theophan taught. In a perfect world,
this spiritual reality would be confirmed
ecclesiastically by the Hierarchs, but this
doesn't always happen. Nevertheless, I do
not hold a Matthewite ecclesiology. On the
contrary, I agree with the "ecclesiology of
resistance" as held and taught by the Synod of
Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili, which
agrees with the Holy Fathers and our Orthodox
I confess that in my intial shock and dismay at the
heretical actions of the Hierarchy of the Church of
Antioch, I made hasty statements which were too general,
too broad, and without sufficient forethought and due care,
and for that I ask the forgiveness of all, and acknowledge
my error. I will not say that the Church of Antioch
has cut itself off from the Church--unless the Hierarchy
makes this judgment. Nevertheless, as an Orthodox
Christian, and therefore of One Mystical Body with the
Church of Antioch, and suffering with her, I bear witness
against the heresies of the Hierarchs of Antioch, heresies
which, according to the Ecumenical Fathers, are worthy
of anathema, and may the Lord grant me to hold this
Orthodox faith until my last breath.
Fr. John, why not just admit that we appear to have a
sincere disagreement over what, in the scheme of things,
is a relatively minor point? Why not rather say that I
hold a "theologoumenon," a religious opinion, which you
believe to be erroneous, or even, which *is* erroneous?
Simple error, and heresy, are two different things. I have
not accused you of any heresy--why go to such an extreme with
me? You have not named my heresy, nor have you shown which
Hierarchs have condemned it (as I have previously asked you
to do). Therefore, I must now ask you, Fr. John: On what
basis do you, as a Priest, make this accusation of heresy
against me? What Hierarchical precedant allows you to
rightly make such a certain and dread judgment against me?
On what basis do you so confidently suggest that St. Theophan
was in error? Why not rather say that perhaps there are
aspects of anathemas which you had not previously considered,
and that St. Theophan may have something to teach us? Or even,
that you personally disagree with, or do not yet understand,
what St. Theophan has taught on this subject? I freely admit
that I have learned a lot in the course of our discussion,
and for that I thank you, Fr. John. But even if we must
"agree to disagree," I see no reason to go so far as to
publicly and inflexibly say "you are teaching heresy."
Perhaps you thought I wouldn't take your words seriously,
but I have taken them to heart, and they have caused me
It is my sincere hope that now that I have made myself more
clear, and in part modified my position, you will now
acknowledge that the causes for your initial judgment of
heresy against me no longer exist. Fr. John, I humbly ask
that you withdraw your accusation, so that we may put this
matter to rest.
Pray for the sinner
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>